Issue No. 29 | March 2024

South West Mayo Development Company CLG

Empowering Communities - Enriching Lives

In the Loop Newsletter

Mayo's Culinary Excellence Showcased at IFEX Belfast 2024

Some of Mayo’s finest food and drink producers represented Mayo in the IFEX Exhibition in Belfast this month (5th-7th March 2024).

This exciting initiative was a collaboration between the Mayo Food & Drink Network, South West Mayo Development Company (through LEADER funding) and Local Enterprise Office Mayo,. Businesses had the opportunity to bring a taste of Mayo to a major national event and explore new export markets and network with other businesses.

This participation is a testament to the ongoing commitment to:

  • Highlighting the exceptional quality and diversity of Mayo’s food and drink offerings.
  • Fostering new business connections and expanding market reach for local producers.
  • Strengthening the Mayo Food & Drink brand as a symbol of food and drink excellence.
  • SWMDC’s partnership approach that benefits businesses all over Mayo.

By participating in events like the IFEX Exhibition, Mayo’s Food and Drink businesses are not only promoting their products but also strengthening the Mayo Food & Drink brand. We worked with Suzanne O’Brien (Shore Tourism and Hospitality), who brought exceptional professionalism to the presentation of these businesses on this important business stage. The Mayo businesses that attended were:

  • Drioglann Loch Measc Distillery: Represented by Andrew and his team.
  • Kellys of Newport: Led by Seán and his team, specialising in butchering.
  • Wildwood Balsamics: Represented by Fionntán Gogarty, renowned for their balsamic products.
  • Mescan Brewery: A collaborative effort by Cillian, Naomi, and Sadb, offering craft brews.
  • Van Velze’s Chocolates: Deborah and Robert bring their chocolate creations to the event.
  • O’Hara’s of Foxford: Represented by Julie, Michael, Kate, and their team.
  • Gourmet Greenway: Showcasing Mayo’s culinary offerings through Dermot and his team.

Welcoming New Board Members

We extend a warm welcome to Michael Minassie and John Cannon, to the South West Mayo Development Company board.

Michael Minassie came to Ireland in May 2022 from Ethiopia and will represent new communities on the SWMDC Board. Michael volunteers with Community Radio Castlebar FM and has over 30 years of experience as a journalist, media producer and host.

John Cannon (pictured above with Thomas Fitzpatrick and others on the night of the community election) was nominated by Islandeady Community Alert to represent the Castlebar and hinterland area on the SWMDC Board. John is an active member of the Islandeady community for over 35 years. He is a member of Islandeady Community Council, worked on the Islandeady Community Futures plan, and is a member of the community finance and fundraising sub-committee. He is actively involved with the Gardaí and elderly in the local community alert scheme.

SWMDC is indebted to our voluntary Board members who give so much of their time and expertise to the success of our company and the communities we serve in south west Mayo and beyond.

Community Futures Launch

The Tuar Mhic Éadaigh community was delighted to launch its new Community Futures plan 2023-2028. Minister Patrick O’Donovan officially launched the plan, and there was a great show of support from local elected representatives and the wider community on the day.

SWMDC hosts the Community Futures programme on behalf of Mayo County Council. Geraldine Leneghan Community Futures Co-Ordinator provided exceptional levels of support and advice in preparing the plan, and we look forward to working with the community in executing the plan in the future.

LEADER Update 2024:

The current LEADER programme is now closed. Our team is assisting businesses, communities, and individuals with finalising their projects. We are still accepting enquires for the new programme. We will add your details to our database and will get in touch as soon as the new programme is open for applications.

Low Farm Income or Unemployed? Explore Your Options with RSS & Tús:

Are you looking for work experience and an additional source of income?

Farmers with low income: RSS program (flexible hours, €259.50/week).

Unemployed 1+ year: Tús program (community projects, €259.50/week min).

Both offer: Valuable experience, skills development, and community connection.

Find out more here

Details on Eligibility & Contact: Local Intreo office or SWMDC’s Balla Office (094 936 6692)

Recruitment March 2024

We will be recruiting for the WorkAbility programme in the upcoming weeks. Please keep an eye on our website and social media for further details.


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